Building an active community has incredible potential for bringing in additional return on investment (ROI) for your business. However, a key factor in creating a successful community starts with the way you view its place in your company.
Do not look at a community as just another branch of your business. Do not treat it as if it’s simply a means to an end. If you want to gain solid and consistent ROI with a community, you have to make it a central part of your business philosophy.
Instead of being a business that simply has a community, you need to transform your business into a community.
Twitter, Ebay, Airbnb, and Facebook are just a few examples of huge companies that include community as part of their business philosophy. These super successful companies understand that ROI is not always financial. In fact, most of the time, a community will not bring you direct financial results in the short-term.
Like everything else worth investing in, community takes time to bring in ROI. But the long-term results you gain are invaluable. Non-financial ROI is just as beneficial to a business as generating extra revenue is. And ultimately, non-financial ROI will always contribute to your long-term financial ROI.
How? Well, a community causes every single member (not just one particular team) to form a super-strong bond with your business. Instead of feeling like just a number or just another member, they feel valued. They can easily connect with other members, seek advice, search for information, voice their opinion and feel recognized.
They don’t want to leave your company to go work someplace else, so your turnover rate will be lower. They’ll start to spread the word about your healthy work environment and your product/service. This becomes more or less free marketing.
A community also works especially well in regards to differentiating your business from competitors. Because even though a competitor can copy your product/service, they will never be able to copy your unique community.
A community also allows you to conduct much stronger research than ever before.
Forming “insight communities,” which is where you involve your customers in every stage of your innovation process, is a great example of how to utilize a community platform like Bisner.
The purpose of an insight community is to dive deep into ideas and insights that outsiders can bring to the table.
Dewalt, a top leader in the power tool market, revealed during an interview with Vision Critical that they have saved $5 million in research costs by forming an insight community.
And insight communities are becoming more and more popular, with sixty-one percent of research companies now using online communities, according to the Q1-Q2 2016 Greenbook Industry Trends (GRIT) report.
Think about your business goals, both financial and non-financial, that you haven’t yet met. How far along are you in reaching each goal? A community platform like Bisner can help you reach those goals much faster than otherwise.
In addition to insight communities, you can reach your goals much faster by having consistent brainstorming and idea sessions. Create at least one group (and likely more than one, including subgroups) for each department in your community platform. These groups should be solely devoted to brainstorming/idea sessions (and are similar to insight communities).
By bringing together several people who are all thinking about and working towards one goal - both theoretical and practical - you’ll be amazed by the fantastic ideas you come up with. This helps you reach each business goal faster and more efficiently than you were previously capable of.
Most companies have to pay money (in research, outsourcing, training, and new resources) in order to gain the proper understanding and knowledge of how to perform certain tasks. Projects like copywriting, graphic and website design, website development, communication and strategy outreach, social media and email campaigns, and running Facebook and Google Ads are a few examples.
These types of projects are what businesses often spend money on simply to hire an outsider to do it for them or to teach themselves how to do it from the ground up.
However, many times a member already at the company has the skills needed to complete the project. But because they were hired for a different job and hold a different title, other members - and employers - are unaware of the knowledge and expertise their fellow members hold.
To prevent this from happening, Bisner’s community platform allows each person to create their own profile card to be listed in one central directory. These cards can be consistently updated as their knowledge expands, giving them an easy way to display their unique skill set and knowledge - even if it’s unrelated to their current job title.
Before your business decides to invest money into training or outsourcing, first hop on the platform and do a quick search to see if a member already has the skills you need. This can save you an immense amount of money, not to mention time and effort.
Wrapping it up
In short, a community platform like Bisner gives your business incredible ROI in the long run - both financial and non-financial.
The sense of belonging members feel, the strong company bond formed between members, free marketing done by members who are simply singing the praises of your business, the ability to perform much stronger research than before, and the opportunity to take advantage of previously unknown skills all work towards positively impacting your long-term ROI.